- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 18 Sep 2020
Bird deterrent programmes
Their presence on building entrances and ledges, in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, on roofs, near waste storage areas or in outdoor locations such as monuments, play areas, golf courses and cafes, can present a nuisance for facilities managers, landlords, customers and building occupants.
One of the most prevalent issues in towns and cities is bird infestation on roofs - resulting in blocked gutters, droppings and so on. If birds become established, they can be difficult to remove. They can be loud, cause damage to structures, scavenge for food and become territorially aggressive.
Other related problems include the following:
Other than being unattractive, bird droppings can lead to several problems on and around buildings. Some bird droppings are acidic, which can create structural weaknesses on roofs and other supporting structures. This acid is capable of damaging tar based roofing systems and other surfaces such as concrete, brick or stone.
Bird droppings, which can be transmitted on the bottom of a person’s shoes, can also carry toxic fungus, parasitic organisms and transmissible diseases. If invisible spores become airborne, the unassuming dust can come in contact with surfaces or be passed along into buildings through HVAC systems.
Some birds may become aggressive if they feel threatened by human activity near their nesting areas. Feeding should not be encouraged, as this can exacerbate the behaviour. Posting “Do Not Feed the Birds” signs is sometimes all that is necessary.
Residual debris from decaying nests can create odours from excrement. Dead chicks and adult birds can add to the smell and debris. These carcasses should be removed promptly, and gloves should be used in the process.
The first step in creating a bird deterrent programme is determining what defines a problem. Some environments will have zero tolerance (such as healthcare facilities that have pigeons roosting in heating and ventilation systems), while other locations (such as infrequently used storage buildings) may adopt a more tolerant policy.
It is also important to understand what can and cannot be done to address the issue. This is even more essential if the species being dealt with is protected. In these instances, it would be necessary to obtain a permit to proceed with management strategies that might disrupt their selected habitat. Whether dealing with one bird or a flock, it’s important to make sure any approach is legal.
Selecting the right management method is essential. Certain approaches work better with some species than they do with others, often due to behavioural differences. Choosing an incorrect product may result in additional problems, even if it resolves the initial problem. For instance, one type of deterrent used to control pigeons could work well, but for smaller birds, it simply becomes a perfect place to build a nest.
- Low pressure occurs in places (such as benches) where birds can be easily moved elsewhere.
- Moderate pressure happens when birds leave the location (such as food courts) but don’t go far away.
- High pressure exists in places (such as nesting ledges) where birds continue to return due for safety or shelter.
 Control methods
Some methods of control will require permits, equipment and training.
- Bird spikes.
- Sticky gels.
- Low electrical pulses.
- Ultrasonic bird repellents.
- Sonic systems.
- Light deterrents.
- Liquid taste aversions.
- Visual scares, predators adn decoys.
No matter what controls are selected, it’s important to clean the area of smells and markings before they are implemented. It may be necessary to try several different methods over time in order to control the situation.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
Prioritising tax considerations.
The four D creative process: discover, define, develop and deliver.
National Cyber Security Centre initiative is announced.
Reviewing trends and projections.
Legislation will establish initiatives to move towards net zero.
How to document contractor employment status.
Tech tools to help manage people and space post-pandemic.
A style that ranges from mock Tudor to arts and crafts to the 'Wrenaissance'.
Free guide from Secured by Design.
BREEAM strategy for sustainability and the circular economy.
Free tool to improve the construction programming process.
Are buildings doing what they're supposed to be doing?
Cities with quick access to everything by foot or bike.
The pressures and pinch points of global destinations.